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Companies in the UK food and drink sector are poised to unlock about £56bn in value over the next decade by taking advantage of digital technologies, fresh research from consultancy Accenture suggests.

The study, seen by City AM, found that by investing in technologies like data analytics and robotics, the sector could generate more than £3bn in new revenue over ten years while reducing costs by about £53bn. The food and drink industry could also pass on £2bn in household savings directly to customers.

“Most food and drink companies we work with recognise that digital technologies can drive transformation and growth, but many aren’t yet realising this potential,” said Yen-Sze Soon, managing director at Accenture.

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A survey of more than 900 executives from around the world revealed only 13 per cent thought their business was getting both greater efficiency and business growth from their digital investments.

“More than just transforming into digital businesses, food and drink companies must look at how they reinvent operating models, production and value chains," Soon added.

The report said new levels of efficiency are achieved in the core of research and development, engineering, production and manufacturing.

Accenture said in the food and drink sector, customised manufacturing could enable premium pricing and data analytics could help source and develop new product ideas.

Real-time data and robotics could also help by automating the supply chain process, increasing efficiency and reducing the contamination of food produce.

Combined, digital technologies could increase speed to market and improve product satisfaction by about 25 per cent, the consultancy group said.

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